“It’s About the Idea”
Four questions for Zilla Leutenegger

Among the highlights of “The World on Paper” is “Moondiver II,” Zilla Leutenegger’s multimedia installation in the rotunda of the PalaisPopulaire. The Swiss artist has long been fascinated by the moon. One of her early exhibitions in 2002 was entitled “The Moon Is My Friend.” In the novels of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, the conquest of this celestial body is a fantasy at the dawn of modernism. And since antiquity, the moon has been associated with female, unconscious forces and feelings. Leutenegger’s “Moondiver II” varies this theme with melancholy humor: The moon is now merely a dummy that a construction crane raises to the sky – a gigantic paper moon that shines in different colors like a lampion.
ArtMag: Your multimedia installation „Moondiver II“ is being shown in the PalaisPopulaire as part of the exhibition “The World on Paper.” Why are you so interested in the moon and what significance does it have for you?

Zilla Leutenegger: The moon is one of my oldest friends. I’ve been fascinated by it since I was a child. We had a telescope at home, and I always looked at the moon through it. You could see a great deal. This surface! Today, I still find it as fascinating as I did when I was a kid. And I’ve always liked the moon because you can rely on it. It’s there every night, even when you don’t see it.

What role does drawing play in your artistic work?

When I draw, I can reflect. It’s a way of concentrating. And with the medium of drawing I’m closest to the idea.

In “Moondiver II,” as in many of your other works, you intermix mural, drawing, and video projection. How did you get the idea to combine these different media?

Along with drawing, time became a factor. With the medium of the moving picture, of the moving drawing, I could incorporate time into an installation. This gave rise to what I call “video drawing”: the merging of two techniques that are different but which I always liked. I produced my first such video drawing in 1999: “Dream as Drawing.”

What brought you to art and what inspires your works?

I arrived at art relatively late. I was 27 when I first had the feeling I wanted to make art myself. To at least study it and see what this did to me. And then I realized it was what I always wanted to do. What I particularly like about art is the paradoxical situation that you can create something when you aren’t doing anything at all, because, as in all creative processes, it’s about the idea. And it is lurking somewhere, usually deeply concealed in dark layers of boredom.